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Title: Holocene soil-geomorphic surfaces influence the role of salmon-derived nutrients in the coastal temperate rainforest of Southeast Alaska

Author: D'Amore, David V.; Bonzey, Nicholas S.; Berkowitz, Jacob; Rüegg, Janine; Bridgham, Scott.

Date: 2011

Source: Geomorphology. 126: 377-386

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: The influence of salmon-derived nutrients (SDN) is widely accepted as a potential factor in the maintenance of aquatic and terrestrial productivity in North American Coastal rainforests. Holocene alluvial landforms are intimately connected with the return of anadromous salmon, but the influence of the soils that occupy these landforms and support this important terrestrial-aquatic ecological coupling have not been examined in SDN studies. We used paleo-ecologic information, soil resource inventories and measurements of soil morphology to construct a soil-geomorphic model for alluvial landforms along salmon spawning channels on Prince of Wales Island, Southeast Alaska, USA. Post-glacial sea-level rise, crustal uplift and subsidence combined with Holocene sediment deposition have formed alluvial terraces and floodplains along rivers on Prince of Wales Island. These alluvial landforms have soils that are mapped as Entisols (Tonowek soil series) and Spodosols (Tuxekan soil series). We propose a soil-geomorphic model where the Spodosols located on terraces are estimated to derive from sediments deposited after the stabilization of landscape approximately 8 kybp to 6 kybp. The stability of these soils is reflected through mature soil development with organic matter accumulation and podzolization. Our model identifies Entisols on floodplains developed from alluvial deposition in the latter Holocene that have soil morphologic features consistent with recent deposition and limited soil development. We used this soil-geomorphic model to test the hypothesis that the terrestrial end-member value commonly used to quantify nitrogen (N) loading on soils through stable isotope analysis differs by soil type and found that the two soil types had significantly different N isotopic values more consistent with soil development than SDN loading. The use of a soil-geomorphic model provides a means to stratify alluvial landforms and constrain the natural variability encountered in studies of riparian nutrient cycles associated with the feedbacks between SDN and terrestrial ecosystems to improve estimates of the fate of SDN in soils and vegetation.

Keywords: soils, alluvial terrace, pedology, salmon-derived nutrients, nitrogen isotopes

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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D'Amore, David V.; Bonzey, Nicholas S.; Berkowitz, Jacob; Rüegg, Janine; Bridgham, Scott. 2011. Holocene soil-geomorphic surfaces influence the role of salmon-derived nutrients in the coastal temperate rainforest of Southeast Alaska. Geomorphology. 126: 377-386.

 


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